Da Matta Wins in Portland

Formula One refugee Cristiano da Matta rediscovered the kind of form that propelled him to the 2002 Champ Car title with a superb drive to victory at Portland on Sunday

Da Matta Wins in Portland

The Brazilian used an inventive pit strategy to vault to the front of the pack after starting from a midfield grid position. Because he had been unable to make much progress in the early stages, da Matta pitted unusually early on lap 13 so he could extricate himself from traffic and run in clean air.

It paid off handsomely, resulting in da Matta's first win since returning to Champ Cars this season and the first ever for the third-year PKV team.

"This is not like a normal win," said da Matta. "Being so far away from the winner's circle for so long, and also with a new team where we haven't been working together for very long, feels much better than a normal win."

Assuming that da Matta had just been out of sequence, and therefore not a true contender for the win, the runner-up finishers were somewhat surprised to find him go all the way to Victory Lane.

Defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais, who set up a classic overtaking maneuver of Paul Tracy under braking into the first turn when Tracy was held up by a backmarker on lap 73 of the 105-lap event, thought he had passed for the lead.

Instead the Frenchman had to content himself with second place after chasing da Matta in the closing stages to no avail.

Paul Tracy finished third ahead of Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez and RuSPORT's AJ Allmendinger.

Britain's Justin Wilson started from pole and built a commanding lead over the first 43 laps, only for an uncharacteristic Ford-Cosworth engine related problem to cruelly spoil his hopes of a maiden Champ Car win.

Result of G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland:

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver              Team                   Time
 1.  Cristiano           PKV                    1h51:51.404
 2.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman Haas            +    10.128
 3.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe Championship  +    17.570
 4.  Mario Dominguez     Forsythe Championship  +    18.640
 5.  A.J. Allmendinger   RuSPORT                +    26.708
 6.  Jimmy Vasser        PKV                    +    33.477
 7.  Andrew Ranger       Mi-Jack Conquest       +    40.345
 8.  Ronnie Bremer       HVM, Inc.              +    1 Lap
 9.  Bjorn Wirdheim      HVM, Inc.              +    1 Lap
10.  Timo Glock          Rocketsports           +    1 Lap
11.  Michael Valiante    Dale Coyne             +    1 Lap
12.  Nelson Philippe     Mi-Jack Conquest       +    1 Lap
13.  Ricardo Sperafico   Dale Coyne             +    1 Lap
14.  Marcus Marshall     Team Australia         +    2 Laps
15.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Rocketsports           +    2 Laps

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

Driver              Team                On Lap
Oriol Servia        Newman Haas Racing    79
Justin Wilson       RuSPORT               45
Alex Tagliani       Team Australia         8

Fastest Lap: Sebastien Bourdais, 59.923s, on lap 79
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Power Failure Thwarts Bourdais
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Power Failure Thwarts Bourdais

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